12 Best Things to do in Ottawa, Ontario

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If you’re planning a trip to Ottawa, Ontario, you’re in for a treat. The capital city of Canada offers a diverse range of attractions and activities that are sure to captivate visitors of all ages. From historic landmarks to natural beauty, Ottawa has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll explore the 12 best things to do in Ottawa, ensuring you have an unforgettable experience in this vibrant city.

1. Introduction

Welcome to Ottawa, the capital city of Canada! Situated in the province of Ontario, Ottawa is a vibrant and culturally rich city that boasts a multitude of attractions. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or outdoor adventures, Ottawa has it all. Let’s dive into the best things to do during your visit.

2. Explore Parliament Hill

No visit to Ottawa would be complete without a trip to Parliament Hill. This iconic landmark is home to the Parliament of Canada and showcases stunning Gothic Revival architecture. Take a guided tour to learn about Canada’s political history, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll around the picturesque grounds.

3. Visit the Rideau Canal

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal is a must-visit attraction in Ottawa. Built in the 19th century, this historic canal stretches over 200 kilometers and offers picturesque views year-round. During winter, the canal turns into the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink, providing a unique and memorable experience.

4. Discover the Canadian Museum of History

Immerse yourself in Canada’s rich history by visiting the Canadian Museum of History. Located in Gatineau, just across the Ottawa River, this museum offers engaging exhibits that showcase the country’s past. From Indigenous artifacts to the famous Canadian History Hall, there’s plenty to explore and learn from.

5. Enjoy the ByWard Market

Indulge your senses at the vibrant ByWard Market. This historic market is a hub of activity, featuring a wide array of restaurants, shops, and local vendors. Taste delicious cuisine, browse unique crafts, and experience the lively atmosphere of this bustling market.

Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the National Gallery of Canada. This impressive gallery houses an extensive collection of Canadian and international art, including works by renowned artists such as Emily Carr and the Group of Seven. Explore the diverse range of exhibitions and admire the stunning architecture of the building itself.

7. Discover the Canadian War Museum

Gain insight into Canada’s military history at the Canadian War Museum. Through immersive exhibits and interactive displays, this museum pays tribute to the country’s military heritage. Learn about significant wartime events and hear personal stories of bravery and sacrifice.

8. Visit the Canadian Museum of Nature

Nature lovers will delight in the Canadian Museum of Nature. This museum showcases the wonders of the natural world, from dinosaurs and fossils to stunning minerals and wildlife exhibits. Explore the diverse ecosystems of Canada and gain a deeper understanding of the country’s natural heritage.

9. Enjoy the beautiful Gatineau Park

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by visiting Gatineau Park. Located just a short drive from downtown Ottawa, this expansive park offers breathtaking natural beauty. Hike along scenic trails, swim in pristine lakes, or enjoy a picnic surrounded by lush greenery. Gatineau Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

10. Explore the Royal Canadian Mint

Discover the art and science behind the production of Canada’s currency at the Royal Canadian Mint. Take a guided tour to witness the fascinating process of creating coins and learn about the mint’s history. Don’t miss the chance to see the famous million-dollar gold coin, one of the largest and purest gold coins in the world.

11. Visit the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum

Step back in time and explore Canada’s Cold War history at the Diefenbunker. This underground bunker was built during the Cold War era to protect government officials in the event of a nuclear attack. Take a guided tour to learn about the bunker’s purpose, see the declassified rooms, and gain a unique perspective on this turbulent time in history.

12. Discover the Haunted Walk of Ottawa

For those seeking a spine-tingling experience, the Haunted Walk of Ottawa is a must-try. Embark on a guided tour through the city’s historic streets and hear chilling tales of ghostly encounters and paranormal activity. Explore haunted buildings and learn about the darker side of Ottawa’s past.

13. Enjoy the Canadian Tulip Festival

If you visit Ottawa in the spring, don’t miss the Canadian Tulip Festival. This annual event celebrates the city’s Dutch heritage and showcases over a million tulips in bloom. Stroll through vibrant gardens, attend cultural performances, and immerse yourself in the beauty of this colorful festival.

14. Take a tour of the Ottawa River

Experience Ottawa from a different perspective by taking a boat tour on the Ottawa River. Cruise along the water and enjoy panoramic views of the city’s skyline and landmarks. Learn about the history and significance of the river while basking in the serenity of the surrounding natural scenery.

15. Conclusion

Ottawa, Ontario offers a wide range of exciting and captivating experiences for visitors. From exploring historic landmarks like Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal to immersing yourself in art and culture at museums and galleries, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. Don’t forget to indulge in the local cuisine and soak in the natural beauty of Gatineau Park. Plan your trip to Ottawa today and create unforgettable memories.


Q1. What is the best time to visit Ottawa?

The best time to visit Ottawa is during the spring and fall when the weather is pleasant, and the city is buzzing with festivals and events. However, each season offers its own unique charm, so it ultimately depends on your preferences.

Q2. How do I get to Ottawa?

Ottawa is easily accessible by air, train, or car. The Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport serves the city with flights from major destinations. Additionally, VIA Rail offers train services to Ottawa, and major highways connect the city to neighboring provinces and states.

Q3. Are there any free attractions in Ottawa?

Yes, Ottawa has several free attractions, including Parliament Hill, the Canadian War Museum (on certain days), and many of the city’s parks and outdoor spaces. Additionally, during the Canadian Tulip Festival, you can enjoy the beautiful tulip displays for free.

Q4. Can I explore Ottawa on foot?

Yes, Ottawa is a walkable city, especially in the downtown area. Many of the major attractions are within walking distance of each other. However, if you want to explore farther areas like Gatineau Park or the Ottawa River, you may need transportation.

Q5. Where can I find more information about Ottawa’s events and festivals?

For information about Ottawa’s events and festivals, you can visit the official website of Ottawa Tourism or check local event listings. Additionally, you can inquire at the visitor centers in the city for up-to-date information and recommendations.

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Upendra Yadav is a seasoned Data Analyst with a passion for exploring new places and immersing himself in different cultures. With a curious mind and an eye for detail, Upendra delves deep into the history, people, and cuisine of the places he visits, and brings his experiences to life through his writing.. His work has been featured in various travel blogs, where he shares his insights and recommendations for fellow explorers. Through his writing, Upendra aims to inspire others to venture beyond their comfort zones and discover the hidden gems of the world. When he's not analyzing data or traveling to new destinations, Upendra can be found indulging in his other hobbies, such as photography and trying out new recipes. He is currently working on his next travelogue, where he hopes to take his readers on a journey to even more exciting and lesser-known destinations.
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